The Walmart Foundation State Giving Team has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Danbury Food Collaborative for a second time in consecutive years. Spearheaded by United Way of Western Connecticut, Danbury’s food pantries, soup kitchens, and nonprofits formed the DFC in 2013. They are working together to improve access to food, quality of food and sustainability of food for residents in the Greater Danbury Area.
A DFC survey of its clients showed that many of the food programs do not have enough fresh, healthy food for their clients due to both a lack of access to fresh food and a lack of refrigeration. “Project Healthy Food” is providing refrigerators for DFC food programs and fresh food for residents in need. The DFC then partnered with Community Plates, which rescues fresh food from restaurants and grocery stores in the city, and significantly increased it fresh food offerings.
Without adequate refrigeration, food programs can be limited to dry and packaged “middle grocery aisle” food items. Special Events Manager Stacy Schulman says research has shown that a diet lacking fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, etc., can lead to severe health problems over time.
14 refrigeration units have been purchased to date. The balance of funds from the grant will be used to buy fresh and healthy food.
The DFC serves more than 8,600 households annually by providing over 230,000 meals to residents in need. The DFC is comprised of fourteen nonprofit agencies:
Association of Religious Communities
Danbury Farmer’s Market
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County
Hillside Food Outreach
City of Danbury
Hispanic Center/Multicultural Center
Community Action Agency of Western CT
Interfaith AIDS Ministry
Jericho Partnership, Inc.
Connecticut Food Bank
The Salvation Army, Danbury Corps.
Daily Bread: An Ecumenical Food Pantry
United Way of Western Connecticut